2022 Federal Budget and Housing Affordability

2022 Federal Budget and Housing Affordability

How the 2022 Federal Budget Promises to Make Housing more affordable:

Building new homes;

To help ease price pressures in Canada’s real estate market, Ottawa would provide $4-billion through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to build 100,000 new homes in the next five years. Another $1.5-billion would serve to create 6,000 affordable housing units over the next two years.

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit

This is a refundable tax credit for Canadians who are taking home building into their own hands. Families who are constructing a secondary suite for a senior or adult with a disability would be able to claim 15 per cent of up to $50,000 in eligible renovation and building costs, resulting in up to $7,500 worth of savings.

Tax-Free First Home Savings Account

Starting in 2023, first-time home buyers would be able to save up to $40,000 in a new account. As with a registered retirement savings plan, contributions – in this case, up to a maximum of $8,000 a year – would be tax-deductible. And, as with a tax-free savings account, withdrawals would be tax-free. Investment growth inside the account would also be tax-free.

Doubling the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

First-time buyers who’ve purchased a property on or after Jan. 1 would be able to claim $10,000 – up from the current $5,000 – which would double the maximum non-refundable tax rebate from $750 to $1,500.

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive extended until early 2025

The Liberal government’s shared-equity mortgage for first-time buyers, which was first introduced in the 2019 budget, will be available until the end of March, 2025, the budget said.

Under the program the government or a mortgage provider covers part of a first home purchase in exchange for what amounts to an equity stake in the property. While the arrangement allows home buyers to take out a smaller mortgage with lower monthly payments, uptake so far has been far below expectations, a recent Globe and Mail analysis showed.

The budget promises to tweak the incentive to make it more appealing.

No principal residence exemption for properties bought and sold within 12 months

The budget proposes taxing the sale of a home designated as a primary residence if it’s been held for less than 12 months. The measure is aimed at discouraging house-flipping, the rapid buying and selling of a property to capture gains in a fast-appreciating real estate market.

Still, Canadians who are forced to sell their home within 12 months owing to circumstances such as a death, disability, a new job, divorce or the birth of a child, among other possible exceptions, would be spared from having to pay the tax.

A two-year ban on foreign buyers

the budget envisions a two-year freeze of purchases of residential property by foreign individuals and entities. Exceptions include recreational real estate and purchases by individuals who live in Canada and have work permits and international students who are on track to become permanent residents, in certain cases.

Sales taxes on assignment sales

Buying a preconstruction condo unit and selling it before it’s finished will be subject to sales taxes as of May 7th. 

Doubling the home accessibility tax credit

Seniors would be able to claim a maximum of $20,000 worth of expenses for upgrades such as walk-in bathtubs and wheelchair ramps that make their homes more accessible. The new ceiling would be double the current cap on eligible expenses and would result in a maximum tax credit of $3,000.

My Take

No doubt these changes will have some effect on the real estate market.  However, these "promises" are just promises and how effective they will be is yet to be determined.  A promise by our government to increase housing supply and fastracking permitting is questionable.  

Canada doesn't have the trades resources to double construction because of a shortage of construction workers and skilled trades. Giving municipalities more resources to provide permits without making sure that developers have the labour to act on them will significantly limit the effectiveness of that policy. 

On Foregin Buyers:

We’ve had two years when it’s been very hard to be a foreign buyer of real estate in Canada because it’s been hard to get here. Yet this is when house prices have had their largest increase over the last 10 years. 

In 2020, foreign homebuyers accounted for 1.4 per cent of the British Columbia real estate market. the trend of foreign homebuyers had been on the decline before the COVID-19 public health crisis. According to BC Ministry of Housing data, foreign buyers as a representation of property purchases had fallen to around one per cent, down from three per cent in 2018.


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